Guest blog from Natalie King, volunteer, currently in Thessaloniki, Greece
We are where the voiceless are!
I would like to give a report to those who are interested in our work and in the refugee crisis in Greece.
The weather is horrible cold this winter in Thessaloniki. the temperature is under zero, - 3, - 4 degrees. The coming days its going to be - 10 degrees. its wet, cold and icy and its snowing.
So let’s take a look to the streets in Thessaloniki. If we take a look on the streets, we'll find places where people have no home and are forced to sleep on the street, in abandoned buildings or empty trains. We will meet people from different countries, different ages, who are currently struggling to survive.
Behind a busy main street we can find a place with small camping tents, which are built on the wet ground and get almost blowed away by the wind. If we continue to go towards the city center, we can find empty houses or offices. At some door entrances we see wooden planks used as a door, to have a small protection from the cold, from danger and from the public world. Behind the wooden planks are people, who we were allowed to speak to and who showed us their "home".
And all that in the center of a big, famous city like Thessaloniki and all that in Europe!
When we spent time with the homeless guys and talked to them, we noticed a young man from Afghanistan, who is not older than 18. He weared a scarf and a hat but on the feet he weared old slippers with black old socks, because he has no shoes which keep him warm. This young man is sleeping in one of these tents. He spends his life there day in and day out, that's his home now. Because he has no place where he belongs to, where he feels at home and where he can warm his feet! There are many guys like him. They left their home to find themselfes in these conditions - in the new world in Europe! Every single person has a reason why he fleed his home and became a refugee, every single person has a story! What else can we do but return to our warm home, broken heart included.
But yes, there is something what we can do, we can try to change the situation for a little !
Its our duty, our task to support the people. we do volunteering to help the people in need, to care for them and to bring them back some dignity which make them feeling seen and accepted.
Our plan was to set up a "survival package" which helps a little bit over the hard winter time. The package includes: winter jacket, winter shoes, long underwear, underwear, socks, scarf, hat, gloves, sweater, blanket or sleeping bag, a solar lamp and fruits. For the new-arrivals, we also tried to provide a tent. Every single name is written on a list, which we were trying to cover with the mostly needed things. In cooperation with many wonderful people, it was possible to cover a small amount of the homeless people.
A big Thanks to all, because together we are strong.
A life without charity would not be a life worth to live. Thanks to all people who carry the light in their hearts.